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Title: Surveillance, in/visibility, resistance: Searching for beauty in Scottish feminist campaigns to end men’s violence against women
Author(s): McKeown, Clare
Supervisor(s): Jelen, Alenka
Boyle, Karen
Keywords: violence against women
gender-based violence
men's violence against women
Glasgow Women's Library
Zero Tolerance
Scottish Women's Aid
Rape Crisis Scotland
public relations
domestic abuse
image-based abuse
social semiotics
visual grammar
Issue Date: 4-Nov-2021
Publisher: University of Stirling
University of Strathclyde
Citation: McKeown, C. (Forthcoming). Male violence and feminine spaces: Bringing men into the picture in campaigns that challenge men’s violence against women and children. In The Routledge Companion to Gender, Sexuality and Culture. Routledge.
Abstract: This thesis explores the visual construction of campaigns addressing men’s violence against women. The analysis focuses on how an expansive notion of beauty operates in the public facing campaign materials produced by three Scottish feminist organisations: Zero Tolerance, Rape Crisis Scotland, and Scottish Women’s Aid. The work is informed by the premise that all representational decisions involve trade-offs and compromises, which are useful to identify and problematise. This work is located within the feminist media studies tradition of exploring how gender norms and hierarchies are constructed, mediated, consumed, and resisted (Harvey, 2020, p. 5). It is additionally informed by a wide range of interdisciplinary sources from the fields of cultural studies and strategic communications. The analysis draws from a history of feminist critiques to interrogate the representation of people in these campaigns. The analysis also draws from literature on visual communication to investigate how elements of form and style construct beautiful (or unbeautiful) imagery and contribute to meaning-making. The methodology is informed by social semiotics as formulated in the work of Hodge, Kress, and van Leeuwen (Hodge & Kress, 1988; Kress, 2010; Kress & van Leeuwen, 1996/2006; van Leeuwen, 2005). It relies heavily on Kress and van Leeuwen’s visual grammar framework to interpret how these campaigns construct meaningful images within specific organisational and cultural contexts. Social semiotic meaning-making is theorised as an inherently fluid and relational process. This visual grammar was used to produce close text readings of the campaigns. These readings were contextualised and supplemented with archival and interview research with feminist campaigners who were involved in the campaign production. An array of visual and narrative themes emerged from this process which can be aligned to three overarching and interrelated concepts relevant to both visual beauty and male violence: surveillance, in/visibility, and resistance.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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